What Derry Clarke Cooked Up For The Irish Food Writers Guild Awards 2014…

12th March 2014
Pól Ó Conghaile

Give Derry Clarke a basket of award-winning ingredients, and this is what he comes up with.

Clarke, head chef at Dublin’s l’Ecrivain, cooked lunch at this afternoon’s Irish Food Writers Guild Awards. His brief was to incorporate the products recognised by the Guild, and he succeeded with aplomb – turning them into a feast for the cream of Ireland’s food writing community.

Pictured above is an Irish Atlantic Sea Salt caramel mousse and Stonewell Cider sorbet, served with pickled apples, cinnamon crumble and clotted cream.

Below is a plate of Responsible Irish Fish cured and smoked mackerel, served with a potato salad from Dermot Carey and David Langford’s Heritage Irish Collection.

derry clarke, l'ecrivain

The awards boosted Cork’s reputation as the food capital of Ireland, with six of seven awards going to producers, organisations or individuals from the county.

The IFWG Food Award winners are Cork’s Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, Coolea Matured Farmhouse Cheese and Irish Atlantic  Sea Salt. Stonewell Cider claimed the Guild’s inaugural Drink Award, with Carey and Langford awarded for their notable contribution to Irish food.

You can read more about the winners here.

Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House, who turned 90 today, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Where would we be without her?” Georgina Campbell asked.

The IFWG awards (#IFWGfoodawards) recognise and reward producers of the highest quality food together with industry stalwarts who devote their lives to supporting and promoting Irish food.

They are renowned for their integrity, in that companies cannot enter themselves, and products are bought by IFWG members – with winners voted on at a formal tasting meeting.

Clarke began with a Ballyhoura Mountain Mushroom consommé and Coolea Cheese tortellini:

IFWG Awards 2014

Lizzie Gore Grimes, Chairperson of the IFWG said:

“Over the past 20 years we have celebrated over 100 producers, individuals and organisations from every county in Ireland, but this year belongs to the county of Cork, which has swept the board at the 2014 awards for its exceptional food credentials.”

She also noted a shared commitment to innovation among the winners.

“Innovation underpins Ireland’s great success story in food and drink and, according to a recent Bord Bia study, 91% of exporters in the sector reported that they had introduced new products in the past three years… companies have to reinvent to stay relevant.”

Clarke’s recipes are available online here.

The Michelin Starred chef’s main course saw him pair a fillet of dry aged beef with those wonderful Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms and Coolea Cheese.


The Food Writers’ Guild was formed in 1990 to promote high professional standards of knowledge and practice among writers about food, nutrition, food history and other allied matters. Part of its mission is to assist in the forging of links and networks between professionals in the food industry.

The awards aren’t all that’s been cooking. A new website went live this week.